The Kalam Cosmological Argument is definitely a sound argument for the existence of God. Formulated by al-Ghazali during the medieval period and defended today by philosopher William Lane Craig, the kalam argument is an interesting argument compared to other cosmological arguments that came before it. The kalam argument is different from other cosmological arguments because it seeks to find a cause to a contingent universe in a temporal sense. The argument is formulated as follows:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Notice premise (1). It is not saying that everything has a cause but rather whatever begins to exist. This premise seems true and would be absurd to deny. One objection to this premise is that quantum physics has supposedly proved that things can begin to exist without causes. “On the subatomic level events are said to be uncaused” (469). These uncaused particles are only demonstrated to be uncaused in a vacuum. But is a vacuum actually nothing, meaning, non-being? Of course not; this is a misunderstanding of what a vacuum really is — “a sea of fluctuating energy endowed with a rich structure and subject to physical laws” (469). To deny this premise is to resort to something worse than magic.
Premise (2) has much support both deductively and inductively but also has many objections. We will be looking at both here. The most common objection is to deny that the universe began to exist and state that it has existed forever. But is an actual infinite in a temporal universe even possible? An actual infinite means “any collection having at a time t a number of definite and discrete members that is greater than any natural number” (470). Let us observe the thought experiment known as Hilbert’s Hotel. Let’s suppose we have a hotel with an infinite amount of rooms. And let’s also suppose every single room is filled with a person and thus the hotel has no vacancies. But what would happen if someone tried to get in? Well, since the hotel has literally an infinite amount of rooms then every person would just get shifted over one room and the person that was trying to get in would now have a room. But how is this even remotely possible — all the rooms were completely filled! This hotel is absolutely absurd and yet is an accurate portrayal of an actual infinite (471).
A second example deals with infinite temporal events. If there are an infinite amount of temporal events in the past then how would any event occur? How would one reach the present time if there are literally an infinite amount of events in-between any given event? This is completely impossible. It is impossible to traverse over an infinite amount of temporal events (474).
The third argument used to defeat the notion of an actual infinite is inductive. “In 1917, Albert Einstein made a cosmological application to his newly discovered gravitational theory, the general theory of relativity” (476). This theory shows that the universe is constantly expanding from a singularity. If we were to go back in time, we would reach a point of a singularity that contains the whole of all matter within it. “There can be no natural, physical cause of the big bang event, since, in Quentin Smith’s words, ‘it belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity… entails that it is impossible to extend the spacetime manifold beyond the singularity… This rules out the idea that the singularity is an effect of some prior natural process’” (477). This theory of general relativity seems to deal a great blow to the person who believes that the universe has always existed or that the universe was created out of a collapsing universe prior to the big bang. But nothing existed before the big bang. This creates a problem for the atheist because out of nothing, nothing comes.
We can now sum up our argument against an actual infinite like this:
1. An actual infinite cannot exist.
2. An infinite temporal regress of physical events is an actual infinite.
3. Therefore an infinite temporal regress of physical events cannot exist.
From the original argument if both (1) and (2) are valid then it follows inescapably that (3) is true. This cause must transcend space and time in order to create the universe. It would also have to be immaterial because matter exists in spacetime. “The personhood of the cause of the universe is implied by its timelessness and immateriality, since the only entities we know of that can posses such properties are either minds or abstract objects, and abstract objects do not stand in causal relations. Therefore, the transcendent cause of the origin of the universe must be the order of mind” (480). This cause is God.
Moreland, James Porter, and William Lane. Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 2004. Print.